VIDEO | Business, civic space, and human rights defenders
Chris Caskey | September 14, 2023
The UN Global Compact Network Australia is releasing a series of short Bite-sized Learning videos unpacking key human rights issues, risks and trends for Australian businesses.
In our latest episode, Manager, Human Rights at the UNGCNA, Chris Caskey, spoke Bennett Freeman, Associate Fellow, International Law Programme at Chatham House and Principal, Bennett Freeman Associates LLC about business and civic space, and the importance of businesses supporting the work of human rights defenders.
In our latest video, Bennett discusses the nature of ‘civic space’ and introduces the concept of ‘shared space’ – whereby both business and civil society co-exist for mutual benefit. Bennett outlines how businesses should look to protect civil society stakeholders and human rights defenders, including how they can target their messaging to the market so that human rights defenders and broader civil society stakeholders feel empowered and respected in their work.
Bennett also discusses the nature of human rights impacts, noting why it’s imperative to address adverse human rights impacts first, as well as how initiatives such as the UN Global Compact are working to align business on enabling positive human rights impacts. Bennett also provided an overview of the UNGC SDG 16 Business Framework—Inspiring Transformation Justice framework which he contributed to. Finally, Bennett shares his aspirations for the recently launched Business and Human Rights Lawyers Association and outlines how lawyers and professional advisors can fulfil their own obligation to respect human rights through client selection and their advisory services.
Resources mentioned in this video include:
- Shared Space Under Pressure: Business Support for Civic Freedoms and Human Rights Defenders – Guidance for Companies (Business & Human Rights Resource Centre and International Service for Human Rights).
- UNGC SDG 16 Business Framework—Inspiring Transformation Justice: https://sdg16.unglobalcompact.org/